Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Human Predicament

"Sometimes I think all my pictures are just pictures of me. My concern is... the human predicament; only what I consider the human predicament may simply be my own."

Richard Avedon

Welcome to Hollywood - What's your dream?

.Camuflaje Eficaz.

Bookmark and Share

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Perosn Who Doesn't Make Mistakes is Unlikely to Make Anything

One day last month while I was out and about running errands I stopped in Anthropologie. I love this place even though I find it to be a little over-priced. I don't mind paying a lot of money for things but in there I always feel like I'm spending too much for a little t-shirt, tank top, pair of underwear, soap, coffee mug, whatever...I've pretty much bought everything there is to buy there - I wish their merchandise wasn't so cute so I wouldn't be so tempted all the time. In any event, my plan was to get in, cool off from the 90 degree heat outside and get out. Fortunately for them, that never happens when I stop in there. I bought two dresses, one tank, one shirt and a wonderful "little book" (that's what I've dubbed it) called "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be. The world's best selling book by Paul Arden." I always find little gems like this when I go in there and that's why I keep going back (they obviously read Mr. Arden's book).

I've had the "Little Book" on my nightstand for over a month; I even took it to Argentina with me. Since I've been back it's been residing on the top of the pile of the July and August issues of Vanity Fair,
Vogue, Bazaar, Latina, Lucky, Fast Company and the West Elm and
Pottery Barn catalogues (I realize that, sadly, we are likely responsible for the cutting down of many trees). I finally picked it up last night and read through it a bit. I often purchase books like this but they always stay hidden somewhere in my apartment and never on my bookshelf. Most people don't advertise that they read these kind of books (until now that I share it here). For example, during my first year at the law firm I bought "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office" (I loved that one, by the way, and it really taught me a lot, but, it resided comfortably in a drawer in my desk in my office). So, I read through the Little Book and I think that it's my new favorite Little Book with a BIG MESSAGE.

The inside flap of the Little Book states: "Just as Sun Tzu's Art of War is read as a lesson in business strategy rather than fighting in a military sense, or Machiavelli's The Prince is written about government but used as a guide to management, so this book uses the creative processes of good advertising as a metaphor for business practice." I personally don't think that Mr. Arden is saying anything particularly deep (I say this respectfully and humbly, of course) but he is so insightful and very good at stating concepts that we never think about. The Little Book really forced me to look "outside the box" and step out of my comfort zone by pointing out some themes and ideas that were so apparent to me when I read them and yet I probably never would have thought of them on my own.

Mr. Arden is a former Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Creative Director and beyond the title, what I think is so great about this Little Book, or, treatise, as it has been referred to, is that it provides a dense, visually entertaining and incredibly readable guide to business through the lens of what it takes to succeed as an art director. It is a wonderful guide to how agencies work and the development process for creative departments, but, it is so much more. In my view, the theories and ideas in this book can be applied to any field - he just happens to focus on that which he knows best from his professional experience.

On page 50 of the book he lists these three quotes that really sum up my experiences of the last year and that I think will continue to define my experiences in the future as I make my way down this very new and completely unknown path:

Benjamin Franklin: "I haven't failed, I've had 10,000 ideas that didn't work."

Thomas Edison: "Of the 200 light bulbs that didn't work, every failure told me something that I was able to incorporate into the next attempt."

Joan Littlewood: "If we don't get lost, we'll never find a new route."

When I was researching the book for this entry I learned that Mr. Arden recently passed away. From what I read about him he will be sorely missed. He was a ground-breaker and innovator in his profession and a real teacher.

I Love New York

PS--The spelling mistake in the title is on purpose here, but, fortuitously it happened to be inadvertent on the original manuscript of the Little Book so they decided to keep it as such because it was just too good to change it.

Bookmark and Share

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Writing on the Wall

Here are the random things that people say on the walls of Buenos Aires.

Starting with the Blue Writing:"May 27th. Where will you be?"

Black writing: "250,000 dead birds in Palermo"

Red writing: "The return of the mixed salad"

Same wall, different angle:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Am Blogger, Hear Me Roar

I'm just taking a small break from posting my Buenos Aires photographs.

I was reading Stephanie Klein, one of my favorite bloggers, and I noticed that she was at the recently held Blogher conference in San Francisco. This conference began in 2005 to help female bloggers gain exposure. I've only been blogging for a few months and it is extremely helpful to learn about these conferences and to navigate the web to read other women's blogs and learn about their experiences with blogging.

It is nothing new that there are glass ceilings that women have to try to break through in order to be on level footing with men. When I was in law school, and then when I was working as an attorney, I heard more than one woman say that "you have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition" as a male student or associate.

While I was practicing, of course I was aware of the so-called glass ceiling but as a Latina attorney, I just never even let it bother me. I was accustomed to being usually only one of two to three women in a [conference] room and almost always the only Hispanic in the room. The only time I felt out of the loop was when people started discussing sports - I'm totally clueless on that front. In any event, I wasn't really prepared to find the same stereotype of the "glass ceiling" online. In fact, I never even thought about it until I came across this New York Times article.

I'm not THAT naive. Part of the reason why I never thought about it is because I'm so new to this whole "blogger" thing. I barely even know how blogger really works and I'm still getting a hang of code and settings, layout, etc. (I'm hoping to make some changes to the blog in the coming months...) There are so many blogs out there - too many to even keep up with on a daily basis. There are a lot of blogs that I follow (see left) but beyond reading them, I've never gotten much into the politics of actually keeping them and how a blog written by a man is different, better, worse, more respected, followed, etc. than by a blog written by a woman. Clearly I have a lot to learn. Luckily, it's not a race and I've got plenty of time.

Bookmark and Share

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Buenos Aires Light

In photography light is the most important element. The word "photography" derives from the Greek language and means, literally, “light writing.”

My favorite time of day to take pictures is early morning or late afternoon because the light is always rights during these times of day. In the middle of the day, when the sun is too high in the sky, the light can come across as very harsh on the image. In the wrong light, even the most wonderful location can appear ordinary in a two-dimensional image. The warmth of early morning and late afternoon light illuminates and enhances a photograph. Harsh, overhead light is rarely complimentary to any scene. The afternoon light in Buenos Aires is something that must be seen to be believed. It's almost magical.

esta noche volveré


passing each other

we're just ordinary people

...te desprendes de mí, yo me quedo en vos...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Los Porteños

The people of Buenos Aires are called porteños, or people of the port. I love los porteños, they are so open and warm, and I enjoyed conversations with almost all of the ones you see here.

en San Telmo me conocen por cantor y buen amigo.

Es la Hora

Pall Mall Man

The Stories of My Life Are Long

For more photos of this trip, please visit me here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

En San Telmo

where they play

I have spent the last two days looking through the many images that I captured while I was in Buenos Aires. Mostly I was working at the art fair but I did have some time to sneak away a few mornings to my favorite corners of that enchanting city.

Last Sunday I spent the late morning and early afternoon strolling around San Telmo, the oldest barrio in Buenos Aires. The area is very touristy on a Sunday but there is still something so authentic about it. Mixed in with the tourists are residents of Buenos Aires performing tango, working at the cafes, selling antiques at the flea market in Plaza Dorrego or simply enjoying the beautiful sound of the tango music coming out of the many milongas on the side streets of this incredible neighborhood.

Every where you turn there is something to see. The tables at the market are filled with so many random and interesting things - from old spoons, bottles, jewelery, clothing, fine china, silks and local delicacies. When I was small my family would take me there on Sundays to see all of these things and to hear all of these sounds. I remember that I could barely reach the tables and someone was always grabbing onto my hand so that I wouldn't get lost in the crowd. As an adolescent I would go with my friends and we would hang out and drink a coffee or a beer and smoke cigarettes. No matter what age, I have always been taken by the mood of the place - the melancholy and the nostalgia, the energy of the past mixed with the spirit of the present. The place is like magic to me. On a July afternoon the winter sun makes its way through the narrow streets and casts long shadows on the cobblestone streets. I felt very small again as I walked down the roads and smelled the meat cooking in the restaurants, the sound of wine glasses clinking, the music from the performers, the sound of the dancers' tap shoes at the milongas on the second floor of the old buildings, the people haggling with the antique sellers. I can still feel that energy now even as I look over my photos.

I just love it there.

Here are some images that I captured of this place. There are many, many more to come.

History in Some Bottles

No One Wears a Hat Anymore

Portrait of a Woman at a Flea Market

His Fingers Tell Stories

esta noche volveré


Monday, July 21, 2008

In the City

A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again.

Margaret Mead

I saw this quote today and I loved it. I've been back in New York for just over 24 hours and even though it is hot, hot, hot in the city, I'm so happy to be home. I miss Buenos Aires. I was there for what seemed like a blink, but, I'm always happy when the plane lands in JFK and my cab goes into the Midtown Tunnel to take me to my favorite island - home. This week I'm posting some of my favorite images of my trip, but for right now, this is for my home sweet home, New York City.

Sun Kissed in the City

Friday, July 18, 2008

One More Day

I'm leaving Argentina tomorrow. The days seem to have flown by as though this was all a dream. I was so busy with the fair that I did not have the time to fully appreciate it the city. Things are so complicated here politically and I feel inspired by the spirit and strength of the people. This place motivates me and moves me. I am happy to go home but I miss it when I leave. I've spent a lot of time here since I was very young and I am always amazed by the beauty of the country, the resilience of the people and the energy of the place.

Tonight I see some old friends for dinner and tomorrow afternoon I am back at the airport for the long trip home. Next time I write I'll be at my desk in New York - the place that motivates me and inspires me the most and where I find a similar beauty, strength and relentless energy as in Buenos Aires.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

At the Fair

My time in Buenos Aires is starting to wind down. I've been going through the many photos that I've taken on this trip and I have mostly posted images of the fair - this makes sense since I have spent 90% of my time there. This was a wonderful experience.

For photos of my limited hours in Buenos Aires during these amazing and unforgettable days, please see my flickr page and soon, my website .

Thank you to everyone for your supportive and loving emails and comments.

Bookmark and Share

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Inspires Me

If I wait until I get home to write this, then it will mean something different to me.

I've been working so hard at the fair over the last few days and it hardly seems possible that tomorrow is the last day. I've been going to bed at 3am and waking up early to fit everything in. This morning, I sat at the desk in m hotel room and I was exhausted waiting for the coffee maker in my room to brew the mediocre complimentary coffee. I opened the window and the sound that I heard from the street below was that of soft tango music from the Plaza San Martin. It was the most beautiful cliche I had ever witnessed. I closed my eyes and I felt the goosebumps forming on my arms.

I just love it here. There is a lot of political unrest in the country right now and tomorrow there are two huge manifestations taking place in Buenos Aires. There is so much chaos all around and so many problems and yet in my heart, and in many of the faces of the people who live and love here, I feel such a calm and a peace. This is not a cliche at all...and I welcome the irony.

I'll be posting so many more images when I get home - there's just no time right now and I'm so tired I can hardly look at them all. I've been quite lazy and decided to process these in picnik rather than photoshop...too much work for right now. I've cheated and posted these to flickr already but you can see them here too.

Stayed tuned for more.

For now, I'm off to bed, and I'll be thinking about waking up tomorrow to my lousy coffee and beautiful music.


te siento más buena, más buena que yo

hay milonga de amor

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Opening Night II

Here are some images taken during opening night of the Arteclasica Art Fair in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The opening took place last night and it was a huge success. More photos and details are to follow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Opening Night

I've spent the last couple of days getting ready for the show opening tonight. I arrived in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning and have not stopped moving since. This morning at 8am I arrived at the pavilions where the show will be held with all my advertising, books, bios, prints, etc. I had my work framed here and to see it up on the wall, with my name and the lighting, was so rewarding.

I'm very excited (and, nervous) for tonight. As soon as I have them, I will post photos.

Thanks to everyone for all the emails and good wishes!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Going South

I'm leaving for Argentina tonight. I'm very excited about this trip, the art fair next week, and, of course, I am thrilled to see my family and friends and to meet new people.

I'll be posting as often as I can while I am away. In the meantime, wish me luck and enjoy this collage of photographs taken on previous trips to this incredible country.

in one week...

1. the past with the present, 2. me verás volar, 3. Dame Tu Calor, 4. Caminito, 5. In Love in Argentina, 6. Unas Lineas de Buenos Aires, 7. how can I hurt when I'm holding you?, 8. Untitled, 9. urban beauty, 10. Juicio y Castigo, 11. usa el amor como un puente, 12. Epa!, 13. Las Madres, 14. delivery, 15. el recuerdo, 16. ...te desprendes de mí, yo me quedo en vos...

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

This is the advertisement that will run in two newspapers in Buenos Aires next week.

Monica Leticia Shulman

The exposition will be open to the public from 1:00pm until 9:00pm beginning on July 11th and ending on July 16th. If you'd like to learn more information you may visit this page:

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Maybe You'll Get What You Wanted

When I arrive in Argentina on Sunday, July 6th it will be the one year anniversary of the last day of my job as a corporate finance attorney. I'm going there to participate in an art fair and at this time last year I never would have imagined, I could not have imagined, that I would be where I am right now.

My decision to move on and try something new did not happen overnight. It was really tough. I knew there was something else out there for me and I knew that if I didn't try it right then and there I might never try it.

I'm still not sure where all this is going but I like not knowing. As I said, when I arrive in Argentina on Sunday, July 6th it will be the one year anniversary of the last day in my old life. This year so far has been challenging. I've been learning a new profession - two actually since I still keep another day job while trying to be a photographer - and I have been learning a lot about myself.

Looking through my archive of work I found this photograph that I took in Prague almost three years ago on a wonderful trip that I took with my mother and sister. By the time that we reached Prague we had already been traveling for nearly 10 days and we were really tired. We sat in a pew in this beautiful old church that had survived hundreds of years, wars, hate, a Velvet Revolution...I noticed the stained glass, the statues, the tiled floors, the worn wood of the altar and all the other magnificent details of the place. But, the one thing that really captured my attention was the vast amount of candles that were lit all over the place. People light candles in a church for their own reasons - to pray for a loved one, to pray for the deceased, to pray for the unborn, to ask for faith, for love, for hope, for their dreams. I connected so much to those candles. I connected, and still do, to all of these things that they stood for. I took this photo to remember this afternoon. When I looked at this photograph then I was nostalgic for that day, with my mom and my sister and all the thoughts that were swimming through my head. When I look at it now I get the goosebumps.

White Shadows

As I said in my last post, sometimes when I take a photograph I instantly connect it to a song that I've heard. This image brought to mind the lyrics of "White Shadows" by Coldplay.

When I was a young boy I tried to listen
And I wanna feel like that
Little white shadows
blink and miss them
Part of a system, I am

If you ever feel like something's missing
Things you'll never understand
Little white shadows
Sparkle and glisten
Part of a system again

All this noise, I'm waking up
All this space, I'm taking up
All this sound is breaking up

Maybe you'll get what you wanted
maybe you'll stumbled upon it
Everything you ever wanted
In a permanent state

Maybe you'll know when you see it
Maybe if you say it, you'll mean it
And when you find it you'll keep it
In a permanent state, a permanent state

When I was a young boy I tried to listen
Don't you wanna feel like that?

You're part of the human race
All of the stars and the outer space
Part of the system again

All this noise, I'm waking up
All this space I'm taking up
I cannot hear, you're breaking up

Maybe you'll get what you wanted
Maybe you'll stumble upon it
Everything you ever wanted
In a permanent state

Maybe you'll know when you see it
Maybe if you say it, you'll mean it
And when you find it you'll keep it
In a permanent state, a permanent state

Swim out on a sea of faces
Tide of the human races
Oh, an answer now is what I need...

See it in a new sun rising
See it break on your horizon
Oh, come on love, stay with me...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

in our own backyard

We had our first date seven years ago this week. We first met on Father's Day in his parents' backyard. We were set up by our mothers - a Cuban woman (mine) and a Jewish woman (his) - they really wanted us to meet. Of course we were both extremely hesitant because our moms were already dear friends, and to be honest I think that both of us were really uninterested in being set up by our mothers. To make a very long story short, we met and we've been together ever since.

Even before she really insisted on me meeting my husband ("if it doesn't work out, you might make a new friend"...followed by "I have plenty of friends, mom"), I have always valued my mother's opinion and since she was instrumental in helping me to meet the most important person in my life, I can honestly say that although I seldom want to admit it, she is usually right.

We now have our very own backyard and it's no surprise to him or to me that I want to constantly document it in photos. When we first set foot in this backyard I had a flash-forward to our entire lives...I saw us there forever. I still do. Forever.


por aquello que encontré en tus ojos

Just Want to Love You For a Minute

I May Have Been Dreaming


el tibio recuerdo...tus labios...

Come...Follow Me